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This month on the farm!

Usually at this time of year we would spread some manure on the land with the tractor and muck spreader . This year, because of the constant rain we have been having it is impossible to get on the land without making a mess.

When we arrived here around 15 years ago, we only had a tractor and no muck spreader. For that year we did it all by hand with a wheelbarrow, covering at least five acres. The following year we managed to buy a muck spreader and said never again would we do it by hand.

Muck heap and wheelbarrow

However, this year because of rain and our muck heap getting full we have been spreading by hand from one side of the shed - four wheelbarrows a day on about an acre. I have actually enjoyed doing this, it has been a bit of a meditation as I can pick the pieces of ground where i can see the grass is a bit sparse and needs some nutrition. I notice the border of the field  where  the trees are, the grass is much longer where the fallen leaves have fertilised, and can see how the roots of the trees take nutrition from deep in the ground, transforming it into new growth of leaves which fall off and compost - enriching the soil benefiting other plants. It seems to me that nature is continuously tilling the soil without causing any disruption to life . The cows come along and eat the lush grass and spread the nutrition further when they pass their dung.

We've also had a bit of a game changer! Thanks to all your donations, visits and purchases we've been able to treat ourselves to a new wheel barrow (the pink one on the right). It does seem like much, but just this small change has made me realise how much we have been struggling trying to 'make do' - the new one glides!

I am passionate about soil fertility because healthy soil means healthy grass, which means healthy happy cows. I hope this next month we can get on the land with the tractor and spread some manure, as i like to leave it three months before the cows go on the land for the manure to break down and go into the soil.

There are two schools of thought concerning spreading manure which is rotted or unrotted, not including slurry which is a liquid . One is leaving manure to compost for at least a year, the other is spreading  when relatively fresh . Manure that is composted has a shorter benefit to the soil as the worms wont eat it . Worms are vital for aerating the soil and survive on dead vegetation which they drag from the surface to eat underground, thus decomposing what was on the surface deeper in the soil and creating more worms. This ultimately creates more grass for our cows to enjoy.

It is important to give nutrition back to the soil to replace what the cows take to maintain their bodies, especially young ones who are growing. 

A cow lies down in the field

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